Story and Photos: Spencer Fleming
It may have been a dreary Monday (3/27), but Benson was party central as the hip-hop duo Joey Valence & Brae brought their old school meets new school jams to the Waiting Room!
I was so pumped going into this show. Having the opportunity to interview Joey & Brae last week, the anticipation was bubbling more than usual. I took my oldest Phoenix and we arrived a few minutes before showtime.
I wasn't sure if there were any opening acts as I hadn't seen anything advertised. After getting checked in at the door by DJ Surreal, I made my way towards the stage. I noticed there weren't any banners or backdrops, just a simple DJ table with a laptop. This was going to be a grassroots show. No glitz and glam, just pure fun.
The DJ stepped out in a Joey Valence & Brae shirt and got the party started with some classic hip hop tunes including House of Pain, DMX, and Outkast, just to name a few. For a good half hour the DJ pumped the room up with party anthems and got the crowd warmed and ready for JVB to arrive.
Joey Valence & Brae stepped on stage to wild applause from the mostly college and high school crowd. They kicked things off with "Ready Set" and had the place moving. With old school 90s beats and funky rhymes JVB was dripping with swagger. The thing that really sets JVB apart from a lot acts on the current hip-hop scene is their ability to make fun and catchy songs that have a natural simplicity to them. Like with "Ready Set" the chorus of "Here we go, here we go, here we go, oh" is a sure fire party starter.
Joey Valence & Brae are natural entertainers and had a lot of crowd interaction. They remarked "Thanks for coming out on a school night" and "Who had a good Monday? Well if you had to work all day, I hope it's better now that you're here". They made sure to shout out people in the crowd like the guy in a Pokemon sweater and Dezzy who made her own custom JVB shirt!
Joey said he didn't want to go back to working in a grocery store and Brae didn't want to go back to washing cars so they were thankful for everyone who showed up. "Without you guys we wouldn't be here".
JVB's set flew by, but they treated Omaha to several new tracks from their forthcoming album, including "Drop!" and "Gumdrop". My favorite part of the set was "Crank It Up" a certified banger that got the whole crowd jumping. Of course they saved their radio single "Punk Tactics" for last. Before the song started everyone on the floor got down low before exploding into a pile of bodies thrashing together in celebration.
I'm sure in the coming months you'll hear a lot of "They're just ripping off Beastie Boys" and "They're just a couple TikTok dudes", but I'm here to tell you, JVB has the juice. I had so much fun with the youthful exuberance JVB brought to the Waiting Room. I can't wait until they come through again. I have a feeling with the trajectory they're on now, the Waiting Room might be too small for them next time!
Huge thanks to JVB's team for photo access!
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Joey Valence & Brae